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Senior Dean Sin­clair is part of the band August Hotel. Facebook

August Hotel head­lined student music fes­tival Womb­stock before its songs had been released, but junior Adam Cieply still knew all the lyrics and sang them until his throat hurt. 

Senior Dean Sin­clair is the drummer of the Chicago-based pop group, which released its first EP last week. August Hotel has played at Hillsdale five times: the No Date Dance (spon­sored by A Few Good Men), Battle of the Bands, Welcome Party in 2015, Broad 

Street Market in 2016, and Womb­stock in 2017. 

Cieply has seen them four times and said that he “went crazy” each time.

The band released its EP, “Charms,” on Sept. 22 on all major music buying and sharing web­sites. The EP (extended play) has two songs, “12AM” and “Michigan Again,” which the band released as singles earlier this year. These songs came about after the band’s reor­ga­ni­zation over the past couple of years when Craig Schwartz began playing key­board for the band and when bassist Cale Sin­gleton handed over the mic to lead singer Joe Padilla.

“We never sat down and asked what the EP was about. We just sat down and wrote pop songs. If it works out to where we can tell a story, that’s great,” said Sin­clair. “We are not philoso­phers on this record, but if you have a broken heart, we give you some­thing to tap your foot along to and be a little upset with.”

“Can I Be in Love with You” and “Crys­tal­lized” are new tracks on the EP that the band has been working on for over a year. The latter was Cieply’s favorite song on the album.

“‘Crys­tal­lized’ is really catchy. I think it tells a con­ven­tional story, the usual high school love story, but they rem­i­nisce on the story from a college view­point,” Cieply said. “They wonder what mem­ories they will be able to keep. They realize that they will try to keep it forever, but they can’t.”

Gui­tarist Ryan Lammers, who pro­duced the EP, said he felt pressure to record the music properly in a studio at North­western Uni­versity after the band tried and failed to record in a basement in 2015. 

“It’s kind of surreal hon­estly,” Lammers said. “We have been sitting on these songs for a long time. It is strange to have it out where everyone who is not us can listen to it.”

This was not the first time Sin­clair and Lammers found them­selves in a studio together. A band they formed in middle school named “Poseidon” won the chance to record a full album fea­turing the “The Implosion of the Plan.” The music video of the song still haunts the back alleys of YouTube.  

Though Lammers said that they felt like “hot shots” going into the studio to record with Poseidon, the expe­rience was dif­ferent this time around. 

“Having the freedom that we did and the access to the studio, there was a bit of that awe,” he said. “But then we started to com­plain about being stuck in the studio, but then we would walk out and be really grateful for it.”

Sin­clair said that he finds it funny going from small shows in Chicago with small crowds to a friendly, excited Hillsdale crowd. 

“If we don’t play ‘Valentine’ here, people will start screaming at us,” he said.

That song, which came out in October 2014, was the first song to get people talking about August Hotel, though Sin­clair insists that if it was any­thing, the acclaim was small. 

“One night, shortly after the song came out, Olds was having a party and ‘Africa’ by Toto was playing. [Senior] Amalia Hansen thought I was leaving so she changed the song to ‘Valentine.’ Some people knew the song but most people did not. People started booing. [Seniors] Mehgan Cain and Callie Ring tried to get people hyped. I don’t know if the song ran to the end,” Sin­clair said.

The EP marks a new stage in the band’s devel­opment. 

“Even though we have played together since high school, we need to rebrand. Those tracks had a dif­ferent singer and a dif­ferent key­board player,” Sin­clair said. 

The band decided to take “Valentine” and “What About Now?” off of streaming sites for a fresh start.

August Hotel does not know what to expect with the release of “Charms.” 

“Right now,” Lammers said, “we are just trying to get it in as many ears as pos­sible.”